Hi. I am a philosophy professor at the University of Iowa. My research and teaching interests include the history of the mind-body problem, the methods of rationalism, free will and determinism, agency, and existentialism. I recently completed a book-length study of the philosophy of the 17th-Century philosopher and scientist, Margaret Cavendish. She defends the view that the bodies that surround us, and the bodies that compose us, are sophisticated, perceptive and smart. Then she proceeds to develop a number of compelling theses about freedom, agency, and obligation. I am continuing to work on Cavendish and on related issues in Spinoza's monism and pan-psychism.
- Argument and Persuasion in Descartes' Meditations, Oxford University Press (2010), 248 pp.
- Editor, The Cambridge Companion to Descartes' Meditations, Cambridge University Press (2014), 336 pp.
- Everyday Examples, Bloomsbury Academic Publishing, (2015), 312 pp.
- Cavendish, in the series The Arguments of the Philosophers, Routledge (2016), 318 pp.
- Margaret Cavendish: Philosophical Writings, Oxford University Press (in press).
- "Simple Natures and Eternal Truths," The Cartesian Mind, ed. Cecilia Wee and Jorge Secada, Routledge Publishing, forthcoming
- "Descartes and the Force of Skepticism," Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present, ed. Baron Reed and Diego Machuca, Bloomsbury Academic (2017)
- "True and Immutable Natures," The Cambridge Descartes Lexicon, ed. L. Nolan, Cambridge University Press (2016), 727-730
- "Analysis vs. Synthesis," The Cambridge Descartes Lexicon, ed. L. Nolan, Cambridge University Press (2016), 7-12
- "Introduction," The Cambridge Companion to Descartes' Meditations, ed. D. Cunning, Cambridge University Press (2014), 1-22
- "The First Meditation: Divine Omnipotence, Necessary Truths, and the Possibility of Radical Deception," The Cambridge Companion to Descartes' Meditations, 68-87
- "Descartes on God and the Products of His Will," Models of God and Other Ultimate Realities, ed. J. Diller and A. Kasher, Springer Publishing (2013)
- Review of K. Smith, Matter Matters, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (2011), 997-1001
- "Mind-Body Problems," The Routledge Companion to Seventeenth-Century Philosophy, ed. D. Kaufman, Routledge Publishing
- “Margaret Lucas Cavendish,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E. Zalta (2009), 43 pp.
- Review (co-authored) of M. Moriarty, Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves: Early Modern French Thought II, Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (2008), 644-5
- "Malebranche and Occasional Causes," Philosophy Compass 3 (2008), 1-20
- "Fifth Meditation TINs Revisited: A Reply to Criticisms of the Epistemic Interpretation,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (2008), 215-227
- "Nicolas Malebranche," The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, ed. T. Hockey, Springer Academic Publishers (2007), 731-2
- "Semel in Vita: Descartes' Stoic View on the Place of Philosophy in Human Life," Faith and Philosophy 24 (2007), 164-183
- "Descartes on the Dubitability of the Existence of Self," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2007), 111-131
- "Cavendish on the Intelligibility of the Prospect of Thinking Matter," History of Philosophy Quarterly 23 (2006), 117-136
- "Descartes on Sensations and Ideas of Sensations,"An Anthology of Philosophical Studies, Athens: Atiner Publishing (2006), 17-32
- Review of D. Skrbina, Panpsychism in the West, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2005)"Rationalism and Education," A Companion to Rationalism, ed. A. Nelson, Blackwell Publishing (2005), 61-81
- Editor and translator, “Principii Cartesia” by Robert Percy Smith, The Philological Museum (2004), ed. D. Sutton
- "Systematic Divergences in Malebranche and Cudworth," Journal of the History of Philosophy 41 (2003), 343-363
- "True and Immutable Natures and Epistemic Progress in Descartes' Meditations," British Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (2003), 235-248
- "Descartes on the Immutability of the Divine Will," Religious Studies 39 (2003), 79-92
- "Descartes' Modal Metaphysics," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2002), ed. E. Zalta, 37 pp.
- "Agency and Consciousness," Synthese 120 (1999), 271-294
- "Modality and Cognition in Descartes" (co-authored), Acta Philosophica Fennica 64 (1999), 137-153
Peter Bezanson, "Idealism : A Brief History, Taxonomy, and Nietzschean Evaluation" (2005) -- CEO of the BASIS Educational Group, a charter school system.
Pete Legrant, "Spinoza's Realist and Four-dimensionalist Theory of Physical Individuation" (2009) -- Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Bakersfield College.
Seth Jones, "Modality, Compatibilism, and Leibniz: A Critical Defense" (2012) -- Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Kristopher Phillips, "Cartesian Modality: God's Nature and the Creation of Eternal and Contingent Truth" (2014) -- Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Southern Utah University.